To all the people of the Diocese of Chubu, I have been asked to be in charge of the Diocese of Chubu for the next half a year until October. I am grateful for your cooperation.
Reverend Nishihara was elected at the Chubu Diocesan Synod last November, and along with everyone in the Diocese of Chubu, I was waiting in joy for the consecration and installation in March.
However, with the unexpected spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the consecration and installation were postponed to May 2. In accordance with this, I have been commissioned bishop in charge by the Primate.
I took the position initially since the term was for a month from April to May 2.
However, the infection spread more and more thereafter, and the bishop’s consecration and installation were again postponed until October 24. Honestly, I was slightly uncertain, but I had accepted it at first and have decided to be with you all until October.
My hometown is Yokohama, but I was born in Obuse, Nagano Prefecture. My mother’s hometown is in Obuse, and my mother went back to her old home, and that is where I was born.
I remember visiting Obuse when I was in elementary school, spending many hours waiting for the train at Ueno Station during the most congested days of summer vacation.
After the war, I had repeatedly heard stories from my mother about my aunt who was a nurse at Shinsei sanatorium at that time and about doctors who had come from Canada.
Reverend Junichi Kubota is my uncle, and while he was at Iiyama Resurrection Church, I spent a week during my summer vacation there with my cousin. At that time, there were many walnuts on the veranda of the rectory.
Having been asked to become the managing bishop, I was looking forward to visiting churches in the Diocese of Chubu very fond to me. However, the virus infection has not yet ended, and all in the Diocese of Chubu have yet to gather and worship. It seems the situation will continue for a little while longer.
Under such circumstances, it is important to our religious life that everyone pray together and listen to the Word from their respective places.
At each church, the clergies offer daily worship services, including Sundays. I encourage the laypeople to open their prayer book and the Bible to pray together from their respective places. In this way, we will be able to maintain the fellowship of our Lord.
On that occasion, please pray aloud and read the Words of the Bible. Of course, reading silently is perfectly fine, but by reading with your eyes and listening to your own reading voice, each prayer and the Word will become even more convincing and stay in your mind.
In time of hardships, the true self in people will appear. In such time like this, we must always pray, and live faithfully to the Words we hear, giving concern to each other’s pain. Let’s help and support each other to overcome these difficulties together.
Let us all be together until the installation of the new bishop.
I pray that there be comfort and encouragement of the Lord, and guidance and protection on each one of you.
The Rt Revd Ignasio Osamu Irie